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Ebbsfleet manager Kevin Watson on 2-2 draw with Hartlepool after being 2-0 down and with 10 men

Manager Kevin Watson admitted Ebbsfleet’s amazing comeback with 10 men felt like a victory on Saturday.

Fleet trailed 2-0 to Hartlepool at half-time and played the entire second half a player short after Josh Umerah’s red card.

Fleet skipper Jack King tries to close down Hartlepool's Luke James. Picture: Sean Aidan FM21792498
Fleet skipper Jack King tries to close down Hartlepool's Luke James. Picture: Sean Aidan FM21792498

But they showed great character to snatch a point thanks to Myles Weston’s brace.

“It feels like a victory for us after being 2-0 down,” said Watson.

“I watched over a game where a team was 2-0 down and tried to 3-4-2 to get back into the game and within 10 minutes it was 4-0.

“The main thing was to stay in it in the second half and eventually we got chances.

“That shows the mentality of these boys, the work ethic of these lads and didn’t stop for the whole 90 minutes.

“We changed the shape at half-time, I told them not to go chasing the ball.

“They had to come to us at some point and then they started getting sloppy.

“We started nicking the ball and our shape was good. I think we deserved a point based on the second half.”

Watson had to make a late switch to his team with Andre Blackman failing to recover from an injury picked up in training.

But he refused to use that as an excuse for a poor first-half showing.

“Andre Blackman went down yesterday but we thought he would be fine so that unsettled us a bit,” said Watson.

“Lawrie Wilson came in at right wing-back and Myles Weston moved over to the left.

“There were no excuses for that first half, we were flat and it wasn’t good enough.

“We had words at half-time and decided the best way to approach the second half was not to go gung-ho.

“I know you hear people say ‘get up the pitch’ and ‘get forward’ but it’s easier said than done.

“The boys carried out what we asked them to do second half perfectly but the slow start has cost us.”

Ebbsfleet boss Kevin Watson gives out his instructions. Picture: Sean Aidan FM21792439
Ebbsfleet boss Kevin Watson gives out his instructions. Picture: Sean Aidan FM21792439

The Fleet boss didn’t mince his words when reflecting on the opening 45 minutes.

But was more than impressed with how his side hit back.

“That’s the poorest half of football we’ve had since I’ve been at the club,” said Watson.

“We weren’t at the races. We were meant to have the fast start, that didn’t materialise and they were all over us.

“Same system as we play yet toa man they were better than us. I’m glad we only went in at 2-0 down.

“I’m so pleased with what I saw in the second half. This is what it means to those boys, we are down there in a scrap but they are fighting.

“That’s one defeat in seven in the league but every point you gain when you’re down the bottom is a point towards getting out of trouble.”

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